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County Council focus on Climate Change actions

Posted: 13th August 2019

County Council focus on Climate Change actions

Hampshire County Council is pressing ahead with developing a strategy and action plan following its declaration of a Climate Emergency at a recent Cabinet meeting, and endorsement by the full County Council.

The strategy will set out proposals for both the County Council, and Hampshire as a whole, to mitigate and adapt to climate change, including targets for carbon neutrality.

Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council said: “This strategy will give us a framework within which all of the County Council’s services can work towards these goals.  

“However, we can’t do this alone – we need to work with our partners, and with local communities, to meet these challenging reduction targets and increase Hampshire’s climate resilience for future generations. However, these ambitions are also dependent on action by the UK Government. I and my Cabinet colleagues will continue to press Government ministers to deliver on their pledges to make the UK carbon neutral.

“With around 70 per cent of carbon emissions in Hampshire coming from transport and domestic property, it is important that a wider Hampshire action plan brings focus to these areas. Bringing about this change will need everyone to contribute and consider changes to our lifestyles, as well as action on a national scale. As a large rural county, Hampshire has a significance dependence on car travel – in fact, has one of the highest car ownership levels anywhere in the country. We welcome the Government’s commitment to carbon neutrality, and we will seek out opportunities to secure funding to help us make Hampshire carbon neutral, such as extending sustainable travel choices for people outside of the cities and into Hampshire’s market towns and surrounding areas, including promoting walking and cycling.”

Areas where targets are expected to be set include greenhouse gas emissions, air quality data, energy performance and fuel poverty, and securing new developments that provide a net environmental gain as well as flood defence measures.

Councillor Humby continued: “The Hampshire 2050 Commission of Inquiry, which heard from experts and collated evidence to establish what would most impact on Hampshire’s quality of life and prosperity for future generations, looked at key aspects of our lives such as work and skills, transport, demography and connectivity. 

“From all of this, the theme that came through loud and clear as the biggest threat to the county was the impact of climate change.  To respond to both the findings of the Commission, and the Government’s 2050 net zero carbon target, we need to ensure environmental impacts and considerations are truly embedded in the work we all do, and how we do it.”

The decision to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ was endorsed at the recent meeting of the County Council.  At this meeting, the Chairman announced a new appointment of Environment Champion for Hampshire County Council. Councillor Jan Warwick will take up this role with immediate effect.  

Councillor Jan Warwick said: “Hampshire County Council is committed to reducing Hampshire’s carbon footprint and making Hampshire more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate.   The decisions we make and actions we take now will significantly affect the quality of life of future generations living and working in Hampshire.  

“With a challenge on this scale, we need strong political leadership at all levels and effective partnership working, including with local businesses and all Hampshire’s communities to achieve results. I am looking forward to working alongside Cllr Rob Humby and taking up my role as Environment Champion to help deliver successful action across Hampshire.”

Read the full report to Cabinet at: http://democracy.hants.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=134&MId=5493